We started this day by arriving to Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral at 9:30 a.m. We didn’t have any breakfast, because we had six hours of food ahead of us.
We met with Paul Rimple, who was to be our guide for the day. He introduced himself and we started just around the corner from the church in a bakery, where we got freshly baked bread and around the other corner there was a small church shop where he got matsoni, which is a Georgian sour yoghurt.
We sat on the stairs and ate the bread and the yoghurt. The yoghurt was very good, but it would’ve been even better with a bit of honey. 🙂 Paul is originally from California, but he used to live in Poland and then moved to Georgia of all places and he has been in Tbilisi since 2002. He told about himself, what he’s doing, and how he got into the food scene in Tbilisi.
After we were finished with the yoghurt and the bread, we took a cab and headed towards Tbilisi food market where we spent a couple of hours tasting bits of everything and him explaining different ways different foods can be prepared and how not to get fooled by clever salespeople at the market. 😉
At the market you could find anything and everything. The honey and pollen sales guy, amazing looking fruit, spices, wine, and candle-like candy called churchkhela.
There was also wrapped cottage cheese dish called nadugi, which was super good. We tasted a lot of things! And after this we headed to the best khinkali place in Tbilisi according to Paul. He wasn’t lying in the sense that we’ve ordered khinkalis a few times during our stay in Georgia and these were still our favorite. The restaurant was called Zakhar Zakharich.
After this we headed to a wine and cheese shop which is owned by a man who makes his own wine and cheese. The fun part of these kind of tours is that normally I wouldn’t even step into these kind of places, but this one turned out to be fun. The owner spoke good English and we got to taste different wines and a couple of cheeses. You do need to have a bit of tolerance towards the lack of cold chain. I wonder how anything can stay unspoiled in this heat, but we did just fine after eating plenty of “suspicious” stuff. 😀
The bottom picture shows how you make Georgian wine. You put into a clay vessel and bury it into the ground. This is why most of the Georgian wine tastes earthy.
After this we headed for wine tasting to Vino Underground. All their wine is organic and I think at least part are biodynamic. The Georgian wine is a bit of an acquired taste as it does taste very different to the European and new world wines. I found that the small tasting portions are very nice to sample and if you don’t like it, you never have too much in your glass.
Our final destination was a restaurant, where we got some Georgian food. It was a nice small place, but I forgot to write the name down, so I have no idea where we ate. It was more like home-cooking than a fancy restaurant, but we were also quite full at this point, so it’s not like we needed a six-course meal on top of everything else.
After the tour we went back to the hostel, took a shower and relaxed. We got out again around 7 p.m. and headed to a burger place called Burgio Paul had recommended. The place was tiny, but there were only two people in addition to us. The guy behind the counter spoke good English. Apparently we showed up just in time because another couple came like 15 min after we did and they were told that they ran out of hamburger buns! 😀 The hamburgers were pretty good, but nothing mind-blowing either. They seemed to have good and fresh ingredients. After this we headed back to our hostel as we had an early morning wakeup next day.